Learning to Make Sense of Fractions: Some Insights from the Malaysian Primary 4 Pupils
The teaching and learning fractions is one of the most problematic areas in primary school mathematics. A large number of studies have engaged paper-and-pencil test to measure students' instrumental understanding about fractions but few have sought to learn about children's fraction sense. This paper reports a study that investigated fraction sense possessed by the Malaysian primary pupils. A 16-item Fraction Sense Test (FST) was developed and administered to a group of 198 Primary 4 pupils to
... rimary 4 pupils to test their fraction sense in solving problems about fractions. From the FST result, six respondents were selected from the low ability, intermediate ability, and high ability group. These respondents underwent a series of clinical interviews. Results show that the low and intermediate achievers lack fraction sense. The high achievers demonstrated flexibility in visualizing and recognizing the representations of unfamiliar fractions. They developed mental referents for fractions. They noticed the number of parts and were aware that these parts must be equal when comparing fractions. They could visualize and perform operations mentally with larger value numerators and denominators. They have good sense of estimation and applied equivalence of fractions. These findings are useful to teachers who prepare teaching activities to enhance fraction sense.